The Internet TESL Journal

Conversation Topic: Work

Jack Bradshaw
jack_bradshaw [at]
Knowledge Level
I have found that it works best with intermediate to advanced level students, but I tried to make the topics progressively more difficult to discuss so that it could be used by any level.
Age Range
I have never tried this with high-school age students or younger.
The classes I teach are an hour in length and I have never covered all six topics completely in that time. An hour is typically enough time to cover the first four topics with a beginner class and enough to cover five or six topics with a higher level group.

The Lesson

  1. If you could have any job in the world, what would you like to be? Why?
  2. Do you think it's fair for your boss to ask you to work overtime for no extra pay? Why or why not?
  3. If you are paid for your overtime, would you prefer to be paid in money or in "time off."
  4. Which of the following benefits is most important to you in a job and why?
  5. Suppose you are in charge of hiring a new employee for your firm. You have to decide between two persons. One is a person with many years of experience in a company very similar to yours who has only a high school education. The other person is a recent university graduate with a degree in a field closely related to your company's business. Which person would you choose?
  6. Most business in North America compensate their employees according to the "merit principle." Businesses in many other parts of the world have traditionally relied on seniority to determine how much pay and other benefits a worker should receive. Which do you think is the better system? What are the advantages and disadvantages of each?

Editor's Note: You may also want to print out a copy of the following page to take into the classroom just in case you need them.
Conversation Questions: Jobs & Occupations

The Internet TESL Journal, Vol. VI, No. 11, November 2000